Thursday, November 01, 2012

Baldy's BBQ - A Review

If you know me, you know that my love languages are football, wings, and BBQ.  :-)  So when my wife suggested we visit a new BBQ place, you know I was game.  We had to run to the Twin Cities for some school supplies, and stopped in Lakeville, MN for dinner.  The review follows...starting NOW!

Baldy's BBQ
11276 210th St W
Suite 103
Lakeville, MN 55044
PH: 952.469.3343
(it's in a strip mall just behind the truck stop/McDonald's East of I-35 on the Southern most Lakeville exit)

What we ate:
Appetizer - Trio with Corn Poppers, Fried Green Beans, Cheese Curds
Entrees - The Beast (wife) and Mixed Grill (me) with Brisket, Pulled Pork & Baldy's Sausage.
Sides  - Cornbread, Fries, Coleslaw, Five-Cheese Corn with Ham
Sauces - tried all they had.

I'd call it "hole-in-the-wall-strip-mall" with a bit of sports bar thrown in.  It was a slow night I suspect with it being Halloween.  Room was dark, a few TV's, a handful of booths along one wall, and tables seating 4 or 8 taking up most of the floor space.  Dining room was clean, bathrooms were clean.  Nothing special, but on par for most BBQ joints.  No concerns on cleanliness anywhere - most of the food prep areas are within view.

We dined in, though take-out is available.  Our server was pleasant and knowledgeable.  With this being our first visit, that is important.  Answered all our questions well, and weathered a fidgety 3-year-old.  Kept our glasses full and paced our app and entrees well.

Corn Poppers are always incredible.  The Fried Green Beans tasted like Onion Rings, which was a minus for me, a plus for my wife.  The Cheese Curds were a bit over cooked resulting in some loss of cheese.  Our son loved the Fried Green Beans, eating about 80% of them.  I'd do it again, though I'll personally pass on the green beans next time.

Brisket - they use a very thin sliced brisket.  Flavor was pleasant, though not nearly as flavorful as I like.  A hint of smoke, so if you don't like a strong flavor, you'll like this.  I found it lacking.  I also don't like the think slice nearly as much as a thick slice, or my preferred of chopped.  Meat wasn't dry, but I wouldn't call it juicy.  I chalk that up to the thin slicing. Beef was tender, but again, this might be a result of the thin slicing since there was little to offer resistance.  My benchmark for Brisket in the Twin Cities is Dickey's, and this isn't up to that standard.  I'd eat it again, but I've had better.

Pulled Pork - Great flavor, a bit chewy.  The pork had the flavor I was hoping the brisket would have.  I'd order it again, with the hope it was a bit more tender next time.  One of the better pulled porks I've had.

Baldy's Sausage - first bite was surprisingly mild with great texture.  And then about 20 seconds later a gentle heat started to build.  Nice.  Didn't see that coming.  The overall flavor is mild with a noticeable but not overpowering hint of fennel seed (which is important, because I generally don't like fennel seed) and then a slowly building bit of heat that is about 20% less that I like, but probably about right for most customers.  Juicy while not being greasy.  The surprising highlight of my meats.  If pushed, I'd still take Famous Dave's Hot Links or Dickey's Spicy Cheddar Sausage, but only by the slimmest of margins.  You can't go wrong with this sausage!

The Beast - Smoked Brisket sauced in their original sauce,coleslaw,bacon and two onion rings. On a 5inch Kaiser Bun.  First impression - holy cow!  Can a single person eat this beast?!?  It is huge.  You definitely get your money's worth on this.  My wife said the coleslaw was exceptional.  She doesn't eat coleslaw often, but almost always on a sandwich when we eat BBQ.  She was definitely pleased and would order it again.  And she only ate 1/4 of the sandwich and was stuffed (with app earlier).  She'll get at least 1 more lunch out of this plus my leftover pulled pork.

Cornbread - best cornbread I've had North of Nashville.  Outstanding.  Crunchy outside, moist and dense inside, with awesome flavor.  Pan cooked like it should be.  Easily the best cornbread I've had in a LONG time.  I'd stop here just to eat that alone.

Fries - best fries I've ever eaten.  While I don't eat a lot of fries, and nearly never order fries (never at fast food places), these were awesome!  Special seasoning, and batter fried = pure potato deliciousness.  I got them on the recommendation of our server, and he didn't lead me astray.

Five-Cheese Corn with Ham - think of a really rich creamy/cheesy sauce poured over sweet corn with a few thin slices of ham thrown in.  Really good.  Thankfully no onion in the mix.  The creamy texture was nice, the corn was sweet, though I think it could've benefited from a bit of heat and salt.  A dash of white pepper or cayenne pepper would've really pushed this over the top.  If they added a breadcrumb topping for texture you'd have fights breaking out at tables for who gets the last spoonful.  Really tasty and a no-brainer to order again.

Sauces - I tried all that were on the table.  My favorite by far is the Original.  While I didn't sit and think about the flavor profiles a whole lot, this was a very nicely balanced sauce with nothing too strong in any direction.  The Spicy was probably my least favorite, and definitely not as well liked as Devil's Spit from Famous Dave's.  The Gold was a honey-bbq sauce that was really tasty and is good with the pork and would pair well with chicken too I'm guessing.  The Sweet was too sweet and fruity for my liking, though not bad, just not what I was looking for, and certainly not as good as the Original.  There may have been a fifth sauce, but if so I'm forgetting what it was.

Would I do it again?  Yep.  If Dickey's was next door I'd stop there first and grab my brisket there though and then finish at Baldy's.  Very good value for the money, and next time I'm trying ribs and/or turkey!

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